Yesterday, we heard Jesus tell Nicodemus and all of us that "unless a man be born anew, he cannot enter the kingdom." And Jesus assured him that this didn't mean that we re-enter our mother's womb, but rather we are born through water and the spirit. We come forth as it were from the womb of mother church; born again in baptism and nursed by her - fed upon that spiritual food - the milk of the sacraments - upon the body and blood of our Lord.
Nicodemus, certainly didn't understand this. But in today's gospel Jesus seeks to initiate him into the mystery. In response to Nicodemus' question, "How can this be?", Jesus tells him that the condition on which this new birth depended would be the Cross. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. New life would come from His death.
This, Jesus tells him, would be the act of consummation. In love he would give himself to his bride the Church - impregnating her as he poured forth his life upon the Cross. From her would be born sons and daughters of God. This is the reality captured at the Easter Vigil when the Easter Candle, Christ, is plunged into the baptismal font, the womb of the Church, from which will be born sons and daughters of God.
Such is the glorious mystery that we continue to celebrate at this altar. We come to the Church our Mother, through whom we have received life, that she may nourish us upon the food of salvation.